After a successful third edition in November 2015 that featured an all-female line-up, Uganda’s quarterly music event Qwela Junction kicks off its 2016 calender by turning the tables with an all-male line-up.
Dubbed ‘The Crooners', the latest Qwela Junction event is slated for Sunday 8 May at the Kampala Serena Hotel and will feature no fewer than seven of Uganda's leading men.
Maddox will be joined by Benon Mugambya, who recorded successful singles with Elvis Kirya (aka Vamposs) and in 2011 released his debut solo project ‘Olunaku Olupya’ (New Day), showing a newfound sense of musical freedom and maturity as a solo artist. Over the years Benon has expanded his musical career to become a music producer. He is also the founder of popular label Swangz Avenue and has managed artists such as Irene Ntale, Winnie Nwagi and Joel Kisakye, among others.
Dubbed 'Uganda's Kevin Lyttle' (after the Caribbean soca star) for his debut hit ‘Beera Nange’ in 2008, Allan Toniks later emerged as a finalist in the 2015 Airtel Trace Music Star. Thanks to his music having a mainstream international appeal, Toniks has already been able to branch out to other countries, sharing stages with the likes of Nigerian stars P-Square and Flavour, General Ozzy from Zambia and Namibian duo Gal Level.
Richy Kaweesa is another talented Ugandan male artist. His music is heavily influenced by the church, having been raised in a very religious family. He has worked with established Ugandan musicians such as Navio (on 'Missing You') and Atlas ('Will You Dance'), while his early solo releases ‘Mama’ and ‘Breaking Apart’ topped charts in Uganda. In 2012 he contributed to the official Golden Jubilee song titled ‘Yoga Yoga’ to mark 50 years of Ugandan independence. His debut album My Words was released in June 2013, featuring the hit 'Ebiro Byaffe'.
Rounding off the line-up will be Afro-soul singer Kenneth Mugabi, who will seek to inspire with his thought-provoking lyrics inspired by day-to-day life in Uganda; Steve Keys, who with his catchy melodies, lyrical hooks and honest voice always leaves fans yearning for more; and Sam Kimera, whose musical mantra appears to be "stay true to the content, but dress it up nice."
For its first edition of 2016, Qwela Junction has partnered with Nile Gold, sponsors of Uganda's annul Jazz Safari.
Each quarter during the year, Qwela Junction seeks to bring together artists on the same stage to deliver a one-of-a-kind collaborative concert. In the past, Qwela has staged various themed editions: the Guitar Maestros, the Sax Aces and most recently the Divas. Watch highlights in the video below.